The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore

So Spake Martin

Readers and Realism

I want to thank you so much for your series, which i have read several times with great enjoyment. A Storm of Swords is in my opinion the single finest volume ever published in the fantasy genre, and I have long been an avid reader of epic fantasy.

Thanks for the kind words.

I can't wait for the next installment!! :-)

Fall 2002, I hope.

Anyway... my question. My younger brother is also an avid fantasy reader.... perhaps not so much as myself, but he does read quite a bit. He has read the first three volumes of your series, and enjoyed them greatly.... but won't re-read them. His standard response when I pester him, and tell him that he gains much more understanding of the subtleties of the story with each reading, is: "Why should I re-read it? All that happens in this series are that bad, terrible things happen to good people. If you're good, then you either die or you're destroyed."

You might point out that the story isn't finished yet. If all the problems are solved in the first chapter, there's nothing left for chapter two.

Do you find that people are not so much interested in the realism of the series, and want a "happy ending?"

Some people, sure. But thankfully there are also many thousands who prefer a more complex, adult, and realistic flavor of fantasy. What can I say? Tastes vary. Some people like to eat at McDonald's.

Personally I think that Robb Stark dug his own grave, and I didn't shed too many tears. Same with Eddard to a certain extant - why did he have to be so hard-headed??

If he had been otherwise, he wouldn't have been the man he was.

History is full of people who made similar mistakes.

But my brother points out that everyone from Winterfell is dead - I tell him that's not certain. We don't know what happened with Old Nan, for instance.

Most of the women and children from Winterfell are still alive, though they are not in a good place by any means.

He points out that Ygritte is dead. And the Old Bear (my brother ignores me when i tell him that Jon Snow couldn't have been made lord of the night's watch without Mormont's death, so this had to happen). And the Onion Knight's sons.

The Onion Knight has three surviving sons.

Is this a frequent response? Or do most of your readers appreciate the gritty realism, and the knowledge that in this series, anything can happen at anytime....?

Some do. Some don't. The ones who do read me. The ones who don't find other books to amuse them.

Thanks for your time! And thanks for many hours of enjoyment!!!!

You're welcome. Keep reading.